Daisuke Matsuzaka won his third straight decision, Manny Ramirez hit his 476th career home run last night and the visiting Boston Red Sox beat Toronto, 9-3, to hand the Blue Jays their eighth straight loss.

David Ortiz homered and tied a career high with four hits for Boston, which has won six of its last seven. Mike Lowell and Julio Lugo also cleared the fence as the Red Sox hit four homers for the second consecutive game.

Matsuzaka (4-2), who allowed a season-high seven runs in his last start, was much more effective against Toronto. He struck out eight in seven innings, allowing just one run and five hits.

"He threw everything for strikes and he located very well," manager Terry Francona said.

The matchup between Matsuzaka and Toronto's Tomo Ohka was just the fourth time in major league history that two Japanese starters have faced off. The last time it happened was June 19, 2002, when Ohka, then with Montreal, beat Kansas City's Mac Suzuki.

Ohka (2-4) allowed three runs and six hits over 4 2/3 innings.

In other games:

* At Baltimore, Aubrey Huff homered with one out in the 10th inning against his former team, giving the Orioles a 1-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

* At New York, Derek Jeter drove in three runs in the Yankees' 6-2 over the Texas Rangers.

* At Minneapolis, John Danks (1-4) got his first major league victory and the Chicago White Sox beat the Twins, 6-3. He didn't allow a hit until the fifth.

* At Kansas City, Mike Sweeney hit a tiebreaking solo homer in the eighth inning and the Royals beat the Oakland Athletics, 3-2.

* At Anaheim, Gary Matthews Jr. homered in the eighth to lift the Angels over Cleveland, 3-2.

* At Detroit, Jose Guillen hit a three-run homer and the Seattle Mariners snapped the Tigers' eight-game winning streak, 9-2.

Noteworthy

* Members of the Baltimore Orioles would not talk with reporters about speculation that their team is the focus of George Mitchell's steroid probe for baseball.

Mitchell reportedly is seeking the medical records of Sammy Sosa and Jerry Hairston Jr., now with the Rangers, as well as Rafael Palmeiro, Fernando Tatis and David Segui, all former Rangers and Orioles. Meanwhile, Rangers minor league righthander Francisco Cruceta was suspended for 50 games after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance.

In another Orioles matter, broadcaster Rick Dempsey apologized for attempting to crack a joke about domestic violence while on the air with Laura Giuliani, wife of Orioles leftfielder Jay Gibbons. Giuliani was promoting a fund-raiser to help fight domestic violence.

* Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling apologized for criticizing Barry Bonds and was advised by manager Terry Francona to keep some of his opinions to himself.

Schilling labeled Bonds, who is 10 homers shy of Hank Aaron's all-time record, as a cheater on his blog, 38pitches.com, but yesterday apologized: "I don't think it's within anyone's right to say the things I said [Tuesday] and affect other peoples lives in that way." *